Lib­er­als prom­ise to in­vest in tourism at­trac­tions

In­dus­try to help drive where new fund’s money would flow

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­post.com

Lib­eral Party Leader Stephen McNeil an­nounced an $8 mil­lion fund over four years to re­vi­tal­ize what the party is call­ing iconic tourism at­trac­tions at a cam­paign stop in Syd­ney Thurs­day.

The fund would be ad­min­is­tered by Tourism Nova Sco­tia and McNeil said in­dus­try would drive where the money goes. They funds are in­tended to “main­tain and en­hance” ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tions.

“That fund will be con­trolled and run by our

Crown cor­po­ra­tion Tourism Nova Sco­tia, they will work with pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties and look at where that money should be in­vested to con­tinue to drive growth in the tourism sea­son to build up what’s hap­pened over the last three years,” the premier said dur­ing the an­nounce­ment, held at the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pavilion in Syd­ney.

“It’s the first time in over a decade that we’ve seen pos­i­tive growth in tourism in this prov­ince in three con­sec­u­tive years and last year was the largest tourism sea­son in this prov­ince’s his­tory.”

The pro­vin­cial money will be used to lever­age from busi­nesses and other lev­els of gov­ern­ment. McNeil said the fund will help en­sure that “world­class” as­sets that draw vis­i­tors to the prov­ince are main­tained and will con­tinue to at­tract tourists.

The ef­fort will be a part­ner­ship be­tween the prov­ince and in­dus­try, McNeil said.

When asked if he truly views Cape Bre­ton Is­land as the tourism in­dus­try’s “crown jewel,” as he said in his re­marks, then why is the bulk of the tourism fund not be­ing directed here, McNeil said it may be, if that’s the will of the in­dus­try.

“This would be build­ing on stuff that we al­ready have, so mak­ing sure that our iconic sites are there and im­proved but it will also be a ques­tion of whether the tourism as­so­ci­a­tion will work with their part­ners to be able to say, ‘OK, if we strate­gi­cally in­vest here, will we grow our num­bers?’” he said.

McNeil said a mes­sage he has reg­u­larly heard from tourism op­er­a­tors, in­clud­ing those in Cape Bre­ton, has been a re­quest for the prov­ince to work with them and al­low them to take con­trol of their own in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the Tourism In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Nova Sco­tia, the tourism in­dus­try em­ploys more than 40,000 Nova Sco­tians.

In a col­umn in the Cape Bre­ton Post this week, po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Tom Ur­ba­niak called for pro­vin­cial party lead­ers to gather for a full de­bate in Cape Bre­ton about Cape Bre­ton, say­ing, “we need two solid hours of back-and-forth, prob­ing ques­tions and an­swers about the prov­ince’s role in turn­ing the is­land around.” When asked if he would agree to take part in one should one be sched­uled, McNeil said two tele­vised lead­ers de­bates have al­ready been ar­ranged.

“We will con­tinue to fo­cus on the is­sues com­ing for­ward, we have said all along that we’re go­ing to go out and talk to Nova Sco­tians,” McNeil said. “I’m look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to de­liver our mes­sage to the peo­ple of Nova Sco­tia and Cape Bre­ton Is­land.”

Later in the day, McNeil also vis­ited Bad­deck, South­west Mabou, Port Hood and Port Hawkes­bury.

Nova Sco­tians go to the polls May 30.

McNeil

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